What is most amazing about this opening episode of the Spider-Man do-over is that anyone had the temerity to call it amazing. This is simply a typical big-budget studio feature, marketed in the usual way (IMAX! 3-D!), and bad in the ordinary way.
The trick is to make people believe they’re watching something, i.e. scrutinizing images, when they’re really just listening to actors and looking at a series of static pictures. The pictures, aside from various effects, are reduced to single elements (Hitchcock’s scorned “pictures of people talking”), but are edited so that they pass before the audience’s eyes so quickly it collectively thinks there is actually something happening on the screen.
Director Marc Webb, a veteran music video maker directing his second feature, bases his film’s look around the most banal concept imaginable. While it is true that all the “big” action scenes perforce use various set-ups and focal lengths, Webb is content to shoot the rest of the movie (80% of it) with a slightly long lens. This separates the actors from the backgrounds so that they are in focus, though nothing else is. But the lack of depth is played down, so that the separation doesn’t appear obvious or even bland. It just makes everything look like it is happening, well, nowhere..
As for the plot, it’s the origin story tacked on to the beginning of a mad scientist rerun. The crazed doctor occasionally turns into a large lizard which, frankly, is not all that frightening, even when he threatens to turn everyone into a copy of himself. The monster doesn’t even appear to be the same size from scene to scene.
To play the callow teenaged Peter Parker, the producers chose the callow actor Andrew Garfield. It’s an old gimmick and it never pays off.